Hamilton public health officials confirm child has measles following overseas trip

Click to play video: 'Measles: the symptoms to watch for, and what vaccinated people need to know'
Measles: the symptoms to watch for, and what vaccinated people need to know
Public health officials are getting more concerned about measles, which is highly infectious, spreading across Canada. Katherine Ward reports on the symptoms to watch for, and what people who are already vaccinated against the virus need to know – Mar 5, 2024

Public health officials in Hamilton, Ont., are seeking out individuals who may have come into contact with a child who contracted measles during a trip to India.

Associate medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Lew says the young person was a passenger on Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 61 from Jeddah on March 5, 2024, and that several individuals could have been exposed during the flight between 9:40 a.m. and 3:25  p.m.

Additionally, he says people in Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson International between 3:25 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. that day are also at risk.

However, public health is not aware of any additional exposure locations in Hamilton at present.

“There are no identified sites of exposure where members of the public may have been exposed that we have identified in Hamilton at this time,” Lew explained.

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Ontario health officials reminded residents to check to see if they are vaccinated against measles via an alert in February from the province’s top doctor, submitting that local public health units could see a rise in cases.

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In the memo, Dr. Kieran Moore cited a “dramatic” global rise in the number of measles cases as the reason for vigilance.

Lew says Hamilton Public Health has reached out to other jurisdictions cautioning possible exposures from the latest instance.

The case is the second in as many months that has had a Hamilton connection.

In late February, a child from the Brantford area became the third Ontario case having a connection with travel to Europe.

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Lew says measles is a highly contagious illness that is spread through an airborne virus.

It can live in the air for up to two hours after a person coughs or sneezes and can also be spread by direct contact with nose or throat droplets.

Those who catch the virus are contagious for four days before and four days after the rash appears.

Symptoms are likely to appear in around 10 days, although they could appear between seven and 21 days. They generally last for a week or two.

Lew insists “now is the time” for guardians to make sure their children are caught up on routine vaccinations, considering the safeguard has been recently hindered by the COVID pandemic.

“Now is really the time, considering that we’re seeing a rise in vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles that can have really quite serious and dangerous health consequences, especially for children,” said Lew.

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